Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 10 --> Last full day at ASYV

Our last full day at the Village started out as every Saturday morning does with Muchaka Muchaka, in which the entire Village takes a run at 6 am around areas of the Village and into Rubona. The run was a lot faster than last week but still just as enjoyable. The run definitely provides volunteers with the strong sense of community the Village has. Our kavanah for the day was a word that we created ourselves: presfutast. It is a combination of the words past, present, and future. We decided on this word because our group had engaged in several informal discussions about how humans deal with their pasts and move beyond them to create a positive present and future. Many questions have arisen about how we deal with our past and how, after genocide, humans move past the trauma and live in the present. We included the word future as well because we had a discussion about what we can do in the future to sustain our relationship with the Village and the students there. In our discussion, we threw around ideas about several fundraisers we want to plan at Tufts next fall and thought about other ways to stay connected to each other and to the Village as we take back our experiences to Tufts.
            After our run and morning meeting, the whole group took part in service work around the Village. Work included chopping food in the dining hall, digging holes on the nature trail, carrying woodchips to a banana plantation on our heads in a basket as well as working on the farm.  In order to prepare for a long day of travel the next day, the group took some time to pack our rooms, clean, and enjoy our last few hours with the beautiful view from the Village.
            Our second discussion of the day was about the value of short-term service trips. We read a few articles that both valued and critiqued these trips and their consequences. On one hand, short service trips can benefit rural communities through building homes, playgrounds, or through interacting with the people living in these communities. It also provides the volunteers with a feeling of accomplishment. But is it all about us? And do short-term service trips truly impact the community if they are just there for two or three weeks? Is it more effective to just send money to the Village instead of spending the money to send us all to Rwanda? The group decided that our service work at the Village was in fact valuable and the connections we made with the students made the trip worth it. By visiting the Village, volunteers are able to bring the world to the students, most of who cannot travel abroad. We are able to answer their questions and make lasting friendships.
            After lunch and our discussion, we hiked to the nearby lake that was breathtaking. It was also a fun way to bond with the group during our final day and see more of the Rwandan countryside that surrounds the Village. We ended the day with our final dinner at the Village. We got to have final discussions and laughs with students. We also were able to watch the traditional dance group at the Village practice for a competition that was being held at Agahozo-Shalom the next day. They were absolutely incredible. We had never seen anything like it. It was definitely a wonderful last full day at the Village and we want to thank everyone who made it such a wonderful trip!

- Inbal, Jenny, and David, 6/4/11

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